In the winter of 2004 I was selected for jury duty (at the very same time Martha Stewart went to trial in the next building over--we all had to walk past the fifteen media vans to get to our courthouse). Since the courts in Manhattan are near Chinatown, I like jury duty, as it means a few days of excellent lunches. Instead, New York was hit with a ferocious, sub-zero ice storm that went on for days, where it was impossible to wander in the way I had hoped, and so, with the grind of the trial itself, we jurors were marooned for close to 4 hours each day in the jury room. The second night of the trial, however, I had a strange dream where a friend of mine appeared in the exact garb of one of The Glass Books' three main characters, Doctor Svenson, and together we faced a mystery in a strange, dark, Victorian building involving prisoners in a creepy upstairs room without a door. While I very rarely remember my dreams, the next morning I found this one percolating in my head quite vividly. But then, for no reason I can recall, I took out a notebook, and began--instead of the Doctor, who I would get to almost off-handedly in another 100 pages or so--writing about a willful young woman from the West Indies whose fiancée has abandoned her without explanation, making it up as I went along. By the end of the trial I had the first chapter. I am by trade a playwright, and had not written prose fiction of any kind for nearly 20 years, but I found myself hooked on the story and the characters--perhaps out of my own desire to know what happened next--and so persisted, putting aside most everything else, writing for the most part in coffee shops and on the subway, until I finished the book almost exactly one year later. --Gordon Dahlquist
From Publishers Weekly
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What I really enjoyed was the portrayal of Miss Temple as a sassy, kicky young woman who, in a very uptight time, manages to establish her own very distinctive personality and kicks some butt. She was believable and feisty. Cardinal Chang and Dr. Svenson also are well developed, and I found myself liking the trio a great deal. On the flip side, the enemies seemed more two-dimensional and a bit ordinary - Rosamund just kept sounding like Cruella DeVille.
On the whole - just a generally "okay" read...
One of the largest criticisms of the book is its complexity with a large cast of characters. There is some confusion as to all of the members of the cabal early on, but by the fourth chapter you have them all sorted out.
My only criticism of this book was the ending. Half of me wanted it to go longer, the other half felt like the ending was a little anticlimactic, if only because the rest of the adventure had been so dangerous and exciting.
One of my very favorite books now, I eagerly await any other novels, should the writer try his hand at them again.